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Legal Information: U.S. Virgin Islands

Custody

Updated: 
January 29, 2021

When can a grandparent be granted visitation rights?

Once a grandparent files a visitation petition, the judge may hold a hearing if the parties cannot reach an agreement. At the hearing, the judge will grant visitation to the grandparent if it is in the child’s best interests. The judge will consider the following factors when deciding whether visitation is in the best interests of the child:

  • whether the visitation would interfere with any parent-child relationship or with a parent’s authority over the child;
  • the nature of the relationship between the grandparent and the minor child, including:
    • how often they had contact;
    • whether the child has lived with the grandparent and the length of time of that they lived together;
    • the motivation of the grandparent; and
    • the grandparent’s ability to give the child love, affection, and guidance;
  • whether the child’s physical or emotional health would be endangered by the visitation or lack of it;
  • the nature of the relationship between the grandparent and the parent of the minor child, including friction between the grandparent and the parent, and the effect such friction would have on the child;
  • the age of the child;
  • the circumstances that resulted in the absence of a nuclear family, whether by divorce, death, relinquishment or termination of parental rights, or other cause;
  • the recommendation regarding visitation made by any guardian ad litem appointed for the child or by a child welfare agency;
  • any preference or wishes expressed by the child, if the child is old enough and mature enough to express a meaningful preference; and
  • any such other factors as the judge may find appropriate or relevant to the petition for visitation.1

1 16 V.I.C. § 605